Saturday, December 13, 2014

RECAP: Sea Dogs Lose 5-1

FINAL: Saint John 1, Rouyn-Noranda 5

By: Lorne Webster | SN Staff

ROUYN-NORANDA, QC - In their second game of a three game road trip through northwestern Quebec, the Saint John Sea Dogs (20-7-1-4) were in Rouyn-Noranda Friday evening to face the Huskies (16-15-2-0). The Huskies avenged a 5-1 loss in Saint John a week ago by beating the Sea Dogs by the same score at the Arena Iamgold. The loss ended the Sea Dogs’ four-game winning streak.

Jeremy Lauzon, Francis Perron, Mathieu Lemay, Mathieu Boucher and Jean-Christophe Beaudin scored for Rouyn-Noranda while Samuel Dove-McFalls replied for Saint John.    

The first shot of the game by the Huskies hit a post behind Alex Bishop but that was the closest either team would come to scoring in a fast paced first period. Both teams were 0/1 on the power play. While the shots on goal favoured Saint John 11-9 and the Sea Dogs had the better scoring opportunities, they were unable to get the puck past Alexandre Belanger in the Huskies net.

Lauzon's point shot, at 2:44 of the second, appeared to hit something in front of the Sea Dogs' net and deflect down between Bishop's legs to open the scoring. About a minute later, Belanger robbed Adam Marsh to keep Saint John off the board. Then, on a power play at 4:49, Perron rifled a slap shot from the high slot that beat Bishop on the stick side to extend the Huskies' lead to 2-0.

The Sea Dogs had back-to-back power plays midway through the second period, but Marsh's wrist shot off the left post was their closest chance. At 14:32, Lemay took a short pass in the neutral zone, split the defence and snapped the puck over Bishop's glove. But, while short-handed at 15:49, Dove-McFalls created a turnover in the Sea Dogs zone, broke down the left wing and beat Belanger over his short-side shoulder to get Saint John back within two. However, seconds later, Boucher took a beautiful back-door feed from Beaudin and wristed the puck past Bishop to restore Rouyn-Noranda's three goal lead.

With 1:23 left in the second, Mathieu Joseph caught Ryan Penny with a blindside hit that sent Penny crashing face first to the ice. After the ensuing scrum, Joseph was given a major and game misconduct for checking to the head and various other penalties were assessed to both teams. While Saint John led 12-7 on the shot clock, Rouyn-Noranda ended the period up 4-1.

The bad feelings from the second period carried over to the third with a fight between big Jack vanBoekel and Alexandre Sills. Roughing penalties were given to Marsh and Lemay as well as Justice Dundas and Redgie Bois. On a power play at 12:28 of the third, an odd play resulted in a goal for Rouyn-Noranda. Apparently frustrated by the rate at which the teams were lining up for a faceoff, the linesman dropped the puck with only Matthew Highmore set. Highmore's clearing attempt hit a Huskies player and deflected to Beaudin in the high slot and his snap shot fooled a surprised Bishop to extend Rouyn-Noranda's lead to 5-1. Rouyn-Noranda out shot Saint John 12-8 in the third but Saint John ended the game up 31-28 on the shot clock.

The sequence early in the second period in which Belanger's huge save off an Adam Marsh shot was sandwiched between goals by Lauzon and Perron in just over two minutes set the Huskies on the road to victory.

Huskies rookie centre J-C Beaudin (1G, 1A) was especially effective on the power play. Goaltender Alexandre Belanger made a number of big saves to frustrate the Sea Dogs. Sam Dove-McFalls had a strong night at both ends of the ice and scored Saint John's only point.

  • Friday evening was the Huskies' Teddy Bear Toss night at Arena Iamgold. Lauzon scored for Rouyn-Noranda at 2:44 of the second period to prompt a teddy bear shower. It was kind of cool to see the Huskies players help clear the stuffed animals off the ice.
  • Import rookie Jakub Zboril is away at the Czech Republic's World Junior Championship training camp and Alex Kealey stayed back in Saint John dealing with general body soreness. Braydon Blight and Matt Green drew back into the lineup at forward, while forwards Mitchell Dempsey and Julien Tessier were healthy scratches for the Sea Dogs.
  • Rookie goaltender Alex Bishop made his second start in a Sea Dogs uniform, which gave Sebastien Auger a well deserved night off. It's likely fair to say that Bishop would like to have at least two shots back that alluded him over his glove. However, while Bishop was beaten by a couple of beautiful power play goals, he made a number of solid saves throughout the game. The rookie ‘tender made a highlight reel save by diving to take away what looked to be a sure goal late in the game.
  • While the Sea Dogs are off to an amazing start to the season, they could be down right scary if they could ever get their power play clicking on a regular basis. The QMJHL's second lowest rated power play was 0/7 on the night. On the other hand, the Huskies' solid power play, clicking at 25.7%, went 3/8.
  • Ross Yates' decision to not have a player in the box to serve Joseph's major to start the third ended up providing Rouyn-Noranda with bonus time on the power play.

The Sea Dogs travel to Val-d'Or Saturday afternoon for a 5 p.m. start against the Foreurs. Their next home game is Thursday, Dec. 18 against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan at 7 p.m.

Photo: Huskies Facebook page

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